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A multidisciplinary team of engineers from the University of Washington and the University of California, Santa Cruz, have developed a surgical robot, called Raven 2, for use as an open-source surgical robotics research platform. Seven units of the Raven 2 will be made available to researchers at Harvard; Johns Hopkins; University of Nebraska-Lincoln; University of California, Berkeley; and the University of California, Los Angeles, while the remaining two systems will remain at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the University of Washington.
The Raven 2 is a surgical robot with seven degrees of freedom, compact electronics, and two wing-like arms which end in tiny gripper claws designed to perform surgery on simulated patients. The robot's software is compatible with Robot Operating System, an open-source robotics coding platform.
This open-source approach, along with the provision of the Raven 2 units to the participating schools, aims to accelerate the pace of development of surgical robotics. By saving researchers time and effort in developing their own software control systems and by providing a common hardware research platform, more time can be spent sharing software improvements, replicating experiments, and collaborating.